Only the collective effort of the industry can help build a secure environment for content creation and respect for copyright in a digital world
Managing Director, Motion Picture Distributors Association, India
India is at the forefront of creativity, technological innovation and economic growth. Government initiatives such as the National IPR Policy and Make in India are a step in the right direction to promote a Creative and Innovative India. Through these initiatives, we foresee a future where India’s creative industries can enforce their Intellectual Property Rights and achieve their full potential in a rapidly changing marketplace.
The film and television industry supports a strong 1.8 million workforce, many of which are daily wage earners. This industry however, has only a 6 per cent share of the global box office, and generally low profitability that makes movie financing and production a
Globally, the growth of the Internet has created new benefits and opportunities to society at large; however, thousands of rogue websites threaten the lifeline of a film, as soon as it is released in theatres. Film piracy creates financial loss to our business and to the exchequer. Users of illegitimate or rogue websites also face significant risks. There is a close link between these websites and their operations and the spread of malware and cyber crime, in addition to exposing netizens to high-risk advertising. (Ad revenues earned by rogues websites which include ads from the sex industry, gambling, drugs and scams and other cyber crimes – money laundering, fraud).
Screen content is a key driver of India’s digital economy. While, the ongoing Digital India initiative aims to increase Internet penetration in the country through national high-speed broadband highways including rural areas, it is imperative to consider the need for Technological Protection Measures (TPMS). The 2012, Copyright Amendment Bill, fell short of addressing TPMS in terms of access control and prevention of circumventing devices/hacker’s tools. Online content theft in India is fluid, as sites subject to enforcement or court orders merely migrate to avoid enforcement or further detection in addition to inadequate support from ISPs and law enforcement for taking down illegitimate sites. Hundreds of sites target international and Indian content; therefore the prevalence of these readily accessible sites indicates a threat to India’s creative industries.
Efforts in support of the industry should focus on reducing the cost of copyright protection and increasing the cost of copyright infringement. However, we applaud the recent order by the Delhi High Court that has a set a precedent by blocking of 73 rogue websites that indulged in rank piracy, which went on to say that mere blocking of the uniform resource locator (URL) was not sufficient as it could be easily changed.
New and evolving digital technologies mean that there is an increasing degree of technological sophistication required in investigating copyright infringement and protecting online legitimate content business. Therefore, a specialist, dedicated resource is crucial to tackle online film piracy. The Telangana Government’s initiative to establish the Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU), to tackle organized online film piracy, is set to create a new benchmark in copyright enforcement in the country. Modelled on the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, City of London Police, UK, it is exemplary of a successful government – Industry partnership that includes the Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC), the U.S. government and the Motion Picture Association, India office. We will continue to encourage other Indian states and the Centre, to adopt this pioneering enforcement model.
We have a great challenge and a great opportunity ahead of us to protect the rights of creators. I am confident that our collective efforts as an industry will help build a secure environment for content creators in the future and respect for copyright in a digital world.